He started promoting local music shows in Winnipeg when he was 15 years old. Seven years later he founded his own company to keep great music appearing on stage here.
David Schellenberg established Harmony Mansion Presents (HMP) in February and, as the company’s artistic director, is the sole employee. “My goal with the company is to focus on bringing out smaller, growing punk talent,” says Schellenberg.
He has the knack for this job, having been the main booking agent at the Lo Pub until it closed during the last week of August in 2012. Currently, he is the booking agent at Union Sound Hall, which is garnering acclaim along with the Windsor Hotel for picking up the slack left in the wake of the departed Lo Pub, Negative Space, and venue at the Royal Albert Arms Hotel.
He also books acts for Dead Lobster, a venue that has hosted Mahogany Frog, Ryan Hemsworth, and Surprise Party, and is known for the ultra secrecy regarding its location.
Schellenberg was also one of the driving forces behind the Big Fun music festival which began in 2012, for which he is artistic director.
He has also helped book music for the West End Cultural Centre, such as the Andy Shauf and Jaymie Friesen concert, shortly after HMP was established.
Schellenberg not only brings the music of others onstage – he also fashions tunes himself. He is the guitarist and singer with Tunic, bassist with Les Jupes, and a DJ with the name Schelly Handsome.
The next event HMP will bring to Winnipeg is Syracuse, New York-based noise punk band Perfect Pussy, who are on the Captured Tracks label. “Actually, their agent reached out to me,” says Schellenberg when asked how he was connected to the group.
Unlike the overt politics of Russia’s Pussy Riot, or the silly, sneering rock of Nashville Pussy, Perfect Pussy create sounds that are happy and extremely frenetic and revelatory of—without revelling in or encouraging—violence. With jangly guitars and almost joyful music in the background, the foregrounded vocals are passed through an airplane wing’s turbine before making it to your ear.
“I’ve paid more attention to Perfect Pussy [than the two bands that share part of the name],” says Schellenberg. “They are different than a lot of punk bands. I do enjoy how there’s some positivity, and it’s pretty self-reflective, instead of just being set on anger.”
After the Perfect Pussy date, there won’t be another HMP concert until June 16 at Natural Cycle, when eastern Canadian band Crosss (pronounced “crosses”) and west-coast Canadian band Fountain are co-headlining.
“I’ve been throwing shows as my main source of income since I was 18,” says Schellenberg. “Instead of bar shows, I’m happy that I am helping fill a void for bands that wouldn’t be able to play some of the larger places.”
Do you want to book your band or get some great music into Winnipeg? Contact Harmony Mansion Presents by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out Perfect Pussy with Slurs, Conduct, and Lukewarm at Dead Lobster on March 29. If you think it’s unfair that you don’t know where the venue is, start going to shows more often and support great music that is under the radar. You’ll soon unravel the mystery.